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Red cell irradiation – time for a change?

The Issue

To reduce the risk of transfusion-associated graft vs. host disease in at-risk patients, red blood cells are irradiated before transfusion. The Canadian Standards Association issues guidelines regarding storage of irradiated red blood cells, but quality control tests are not performed on these units, so there are limited data on the quality of irradiated units or the appropriateness of the guidelines.